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Applying Life Cycle Assessment for the mitigation of environmental impacts of South African agri-food products

English title Applying Life Cycle Assessment for the mitigation of environmental impacts of South African agri-food products
Applicant Scharfy Deborah
Number 148799
Funding scheme South Africa
Research institution Institut Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen ZHAW
Institution of higher education Zurich University of Applied Sciences - ZHAW
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2014 - 30.06.2017
Approved amount 199'743.00
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Keywords (8)

Cleantech; Environment; Agri-Food products; Life Cycle Assessment; Life Cycle Inventories; South Africa; Sustainability; Greentech

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die Umweltbilanz eines Landes und jedes einzelnen Konsumenten hängt zu einem gewichtigen Teil von der Produktionsweise und Herkunft der Lebensmittel ab. In Südafrika machen die Landwirtschaft und die Lebensmittelproduktion z.B. 12% der nationalen Treibhausgasemissionen aus. Durch den Einsatz grüner und sauberer Technologien (greenTech und cleanTech) in der Lebensmittelproduktion kann die Umweltbilanz verbessert werden.
Lay summary

Reduzierte Umweltauswirkungen sind sowohl für die inländische Produktion als auch für den Konsumenten südafrikanischer Produkte im Ausland von Interesse. Zu Südafrika‘s Hauptexportprodukten in die Schweiz zählen Wildfleisch, Tafeltrauben, Wein, sowie Süd- und Meeresfrüchte. Welche grünen und sauberen Technologien in der Lebensmittelproduktion lohnen sich nun wirklich und tragen effizient zu einer verbesserten Ökobilanz bei? Um diese Frage zu beantworten, untersucht dieses Forschungsprojekt die Ökobilanzen der wichtigsten südafrikanischen Agrarprodukte und quantifiziert das erreichbare Verbesserungspotential durch den Einsatz von greenTech und cleanTech. Die Projektergebnisse können dann als Entscheidungsgrundlage für den gezielten Einsatz dieser Technologien dienen. Die im Projekt erarbeiteten afrikanischen Ökobilanzdatensätze werden in einer Datenbank veröffentlicht und können in weiteren Forschungsprojekten zum Einsatz kommen.

Aus der Zusammenarbeit der schweizerischen und südafrikanischen Forschungsinstitutionen entstehen Empfehlungen für den Einsatz von greenTech und cleanTech zuhanden südafrikanischenr Entscheidungsträger aus Landwirtschaft, Industrie, Politik und Behörden. Für die Wissenschaft sind Ökobilanzdatensätze von Interesse, um die vielfältigen Umweltauswirkungen objektiv und quantitativ zu beurteilen. Weiterhin können sich aus der Zusammenarbeit  weitere kooperative Projekte ergeben.


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 24.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Natural persons


Name Institute

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Clean technologies in agriculture - How to prioritise measures?
Scharfy Deborah, Boccali Norman, Stucki Matthias (2017), Clean technologies in agriculture - How to prioritise measures?, in Sustainability, 9(8), 1303.
Potentialities of biogas installations in South African meat value chains for environmental impacts reduction
Russo Valentina, Von Blottnitz Harro (2017), Potentialities of biogas installations in South African meat value chains for environmental impacts reduction, in Journal of Cleaner Production, 153, 465.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Group of Prof. Harro von Blottnitz, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town South Africa (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Tatjana von Bormann, WWF South Africa (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Simon Gisler, AgroCleanTech Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Philippa Notten, The Green House South Africa (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Prof. Theo Kleynhans, University Stellenbosch South Africa (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Kobus Pienaar, Woolworths South Africa (Africa)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Anel Blignaut, Confronting Climate Change South Africa (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Dr. Lauren Basson, Green Cape South Africa (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
World Sustainability Forum Talk given at a conference Green technologies for food production: the mitigation potential in the South African cereal, fruit and dairy value chains. 27.01.2017 Kapstadt, South Africa Scharfy Deborah;
LCA Food 2016 Talk given at a conference Environmental impact of South African milk: a comparison of Ayrshire and Holstein breeds. 19.10.2016 Dublin, Ireland Eymann Lea;
LCA Food 2016 Talk given at a conference South African maize production: mitigating environmental impacts through solar powered irrigation. 19.10.2016 Dublin, Ireland Stucki Matthias;
EcoSummit 2016 Poster Life cycle assessment of South African milk from Holstein and Ayrshire cows. 29.08.2016 Montpellier, France Eymann Lea;
EcoSummit 2016 Talk given at a conference Cleantech options in agriculture - how to choose the best ones? 29.08.2016 Montpellier, France Scharfy Deborah;
EcoSummit 2016 Talk given at a conference Mitigating environmental impacts from agriculture in emerging economies: a case study of solar powered irrigation in the South African maize production. 29.08.2016 Montpellier, France Sarah Kreuzer;
International conference on Life Cycle Assessment as reference. LCA FOR “FEEDING THE PLANET AND ENERGY FOR LIFE” Poster LCA of clean technologies in food value chains of emerging economies 06.10.2015 Stresa, Milan, Italy Eymann Lea;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Potential contributions of clean technology in South African agri-food-value chains 26.01.2017 Landtscap, Cape Winelands, South Africa

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Milchkuh SAFARI in Südafrika IUNR Webseite German-speaking Switzerland 2014

Abstract

“Without Life Cycle Inventories there is no Sustainable Development.” - P.W. GilgenLooking at the overall life cycle environmental impacts of households, the consumption of food and beverages is the consumption area with the highest contribution. And it is of global importance. The production of food items in South Africa is estimated to contribute to 12% of the national greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion. Further, the agricultural value chain, both primary production and downstream processing has been identified as one of the priority areas to reduce environmental impacts. This is principally due to these sectors’ very large water impacts and significant share in both South Africa’s GDP and exports.The implementation of green and clean technologies can mitigate the consumption of natural resources such as energy, water, and land, as well as reduce the environmental impacts due to emissions into water, air, and soil. In order to make science-based decisions about the implementation of green and clean technologies, the identification of environmental hotspots in the life cycle of agri-food products is essential. Life cycle assessment (LCA) allows for the identification of these hotspots and for the calculation of mitigation potentials in reducing overall environmental impacts.In order to identify the key intervention points for mitigating the environmental impacts of South African food products, this project will determine the most relevant agri-food products for the South African economy and investigate their life cycles. Applying various life cycle impact assessment methods on the product inventories, will allow for the development of recommendations and strategies where and how clean and green technologies, such as renewable energies, organic farming, water harvesting, or reduction of food waste can substantially contribute to a significant mitigation of the environmental impacts.The specific project goals are:1.Identification of environmental hotspots in the life cycle of the most relevant agri-food products in South Africa.2.Quantification of environmental mitigation potentials from applying green and clean technologies in the South African agri-food sector.3.Development and dissemination of sustainable practise recommendations for public authorities and the agri-food industry.4.Preparation of agri-food inventory datasets for the ecoinvent databaseIn order to achieve these goals, the project is divided into four phases - project kick-off, life cycle inventories, impact assessment, and communication. The LCA research on agri-food products from the southern hemisphere has up to now focused on the major agricultural products and producing countries, and is lacking regionalized datasets, also from South Africa. This project aims at contributing to partial closure of this knowledge gap by analysing South African agri-food products. Improving the quantity of life cycle inventory data in South Africa is an important basis for promoting life cycle thinking on the entire African continent. Such data can then be used by life cycle analysts as background data in their LCA case studies. Furthermore, based on the results from this project, stakeholders in the agricultural sector and developers of clean and green technologies may identify more easily and reliably areas where environmental impacts are particularly high and where opportunities for clean and green technologies are greatest. For this project, the research team from Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, and University of Cape Town, South Africa, collaborate with an advisory board of experts from other Swiss (ETH Zurich) and South African universities (Stellenbosch University) and private partners (The Greenhouse). Through collaboration of LCA specialists, agronomists, environmentalists and a transdisciplinary expert, we believe this project be well set to achieve its goals its goals and the transformation of its results towards the scientific community, government institutions, and the agricultural industry.
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